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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

The Cold Plunge Nudge

Note: If you came from instagram, hello! So glad you decided to read more. Some of this you will have read before. If you did not come from Instagram, then this is a whole new adventure for you and I'm excited for you to read it.


July wrapped up a health focused group I was a part of at Woodstock City Church. I knew I wanted to share my experience and thoughts about it, but even though the group itself met for the last time on July 12th, I've allowed myself to sit with all of the information Steen Jones had shared since February.

Open Moment: I haven't really been a part of a small group since 2019. There have been several factors (and excuses, can't forget those) that have gone into that choice. In January, I saw that groups were opening and decided to look and see if I thought one would be a good fit.

Reasons Why I Decided to Join:

  • it was led by one of my High School small group leaders (we got along then and we get along now, so why not)

  • it only met once a month (I'm still learning the balance of grad school, work, and life).

Seemed like a good choice to help dip the toes back into the waters of small group. We also cannot forget that it was a topical group - health. It is a goal of mine to make sure I am taking care of myself, so why not join a group of like-minded women and learn more about how you can take care of yourself?

Each month had a different focus, and we pretty much covered the whole body in 6 months. The final topic was Spiritual Health. Through preparation for the final meeting, as well as participating and listening to the final discussions, it was an amazing reminder of how amazing God is. He designed everything to work together. And it all comes back to the beauty of having a good, strong, authentic relationship with Him.

There were topics that, at the beginning, I thought I was going to enjoy more than others. I cannot say I thought the one that is pictured in this post was going to be one of them. This is from before I took a cold plunge. When Steen asked in the group text a few days before who was going to do it, I wasn't sure at first. But there was something inside that was nudging me to volunteer. So I did. That same nudge presented itself again when she asked who would like to go first. And I did.

I have absolutely no idea how long I lasted, but what still floats back to the front of my mind is: regardless of how hard some things may seem, it's worth it to do the hard things. That may look different in different seasons. Sometimes the seemingly easy things are the hard things.

To some, joining a small group is easy. It's a no brainer. I have had seasons, where I would agree with that. But over these last few years? I've been in a season where it's hard. It feels hard to make those connections, to show up, and be authentic. It's not that I don't want to. At my core I know the value and importance of being in a small group with link-minded women. But sometimes it is hard to do what you know you need to do.

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV

Here's one of the cool things about this group. It was full of women in a variety of walks of life. Because of how many women were in the group, we were split into smaller groups to provide an opportunity to connect with others who are in similar walks of life. As we got closer to summer, not as many people showed which led to a blending of the groups. I found being in the big mix of walks to be beneficial and safe even though I hadn't been in the group discussion with most of these women for the whole time. Did the once a month factor make it easy to try to talk yourself out of going? Yes. But it also made it easy to talk yourself into going. It's just once a month. It's easy to carve out one evening once a month.

In this season of finding it difficult to simply join a group, I have questioned aspects of my faith. Knowing how important it is to be in community with others, but yet actively finding ways and reasons to avoid it; it just felt like something was missing. Was there something wrong with me or the amount of faith I do or do not have? I don't think so. Through this group, I have been reminded the joy that can come from being part of that threefold cord Solomon wrote about in Ecclesiastes.

From brain health to managing stress to spiritual health, a lot was covered in one two-hour meeting once a month for six months. And as I continue to look over the notes and resources from the last six months, I feel ready to do it again. Will it be hard? Probably. Will it be worth it? I think so. I think part of what I have been missing in my walk with God is consistently seeking out like-minded people to do life with. I think that's the cold plunge nudge I've been ignoring.

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